Dental x-rays allow your dentist to find hidden problems with your teeth, gums and jaw, such as cavities, bone loss or other issues. At Metropolitan Dental Group in Winnipeg, we offer dental radiography for your care. We understand that some patients are concerned about having x-rays performed. On this page, you’ll find information about dental x-ray procedures and the safe radiation you will be exposed to.
The radiation you’d receive from a full set of dental x-rays is approximately the same amount you would be exposed to on a flight from New York City to Denver. The average exposure levels (measured in mSv, or millisievert) of common radiography procedures are:
People are exposed to an average of 3.000 mSv per year from natural sources—it would take around 20 full series x-rays to equal the amount of radiation the average person picks up in a year from outer space, the Earth, natural materials, foods and other people. Living in a brick building adds an additional 0.01 mSv per year compared to living in a wooden structure. You also pick up additional radiation (approximately 0.02 mSv per year) sleeping next to someone.
Lori Wolfe, genetic counselor
Yes, it's often safe to get an x-ray during pregnancy. The level of safety depends on the type of x-ray you need and exactly how much radiation you're going to be exposed to.
Most diagnostic x-rays don't expose the fetus to high enough levels of radiation to cause a problem. It is true though that the greater your exposure is to radiation, the greater the risk could be to your baby.
While fetal exposure over 10 rads (the unit of measurement for absorbed radiation) has been shown to increase the risks for mental retardation and eye abnormalities, you needn't worry. It's rare for a single x-ray or group of diagnostic x-rays to exceed 5 rads.
For example, the amount of radiation that a baby gets from a mother's dental x-ray is only 0.01 millirad. Since a rad is equal to 1,000 millirads, one would have to have 100,000 dental x-rays for the baby to receive just one rad. Other estimated fetal doses are 60 millirads for a chest x-ray, 290 millirads for an abdominal x-ray and 800 millirads for a computerized tomographic (CT) scan.
To put this in perspective, during the normal course of a pregnancy you and your baby are exposed to about 90 to 100 millirads of natural radiation from the sun and earth.
At Metropolitan Dental Group, the welfare of our patients is our number one priority! We have a strict set of protocols in place for the protection of our patients and staff. From the gloves, face masks and disinfectants we use to the sterilization and disposal of our tools, our team is committed to every aspect of your health.
Talk to your dentist if you have any questions or concerns about dental x-rays or any of our procedures.